The social robots market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.68% over the analyzed period to reach a market size of US$912.488 million in 2026 from US$395.577 million in 2019. A social robot is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) system that interacts with people and other robots. These companion robots have the ability to take over complete jobs in the office, such as greeting and basic customer service. At home, these robots might become functional enough to act as a part of the family, with distinct personalities and characteristics to engage family members. They provide companionship and help in the upliftment and simulation of human emotions. Furthermore, these robots can assist people in their daily lives by completing a variety of tasks.
In industries, the long-term benefits of expanding robot deployments are quick manufacturing and delivery of bespoke items at affordable prices. Manufacturers can maintain production in developed economies or reshore them without compromising cost-effectiveness thanks to automation. Industrial robots are becoming more diverse, ranging from classic caged robots capable of handling all workloads swiftly and precisely to innovative collaborative robots that operate securely alongside humans, completely integrated into workbenches.
In 1999, Sony became the first company to introduce social robots. AIBO, a social robot pet dog that responds to the speech and actions of its owner. Even after 20 years, this robot has a substantial market presence. AIBO's software was most recently upgraded in April 2021 to handle new features such as app connectivity.
Aldebaran Robotic, located in France, introduced the Nao robot for autistic children's rehabilitation in 2006. In Japan, the first nursing social robot was introduced in 2015. Robear, developed by the Riken Institute, aids patients and caregivers in nursing homes around Japan. By supplying physical strength, the robot aids in the raising of patients from their beds. The increasing complexity of the world, as well as the rising usage of automation, will boost demand for social robots. Since its launch, SoftBank's Pepper Robots have been stationed at over 140 mobile stores around Japan. SoftBank secured a US$50 billion investment from Apple in 2020 for Pepper research and development as a result of its achievement in improving the user experience. Tally, a social robot designed by Simbe Robotics, was used for inventory management at Target in the United States. Dominos partnered with Nuro to launch self-driving cars for the delivery of pizza.
Social robots assist in the care of the elderly and promote improved mental health in persons with special needs which boosts the use of robots in the healthcare sector.
For example, the PARO Therapeutic Robot by AIST Japan stimulates and relieves stress for patients with conditions such as Alzheimer's at healthcare facilities by moving its head and screams for petting when called by name. Mabu by Catalia Health Inc also works as wellness assistance for senior people by reminding them to go for walks, take their medications, and contact family members.
In April 2020, Embodied, Inc. announced the release of Moxie, a social companion robot specifically designed for children ages 6 to 9 to aid in the emotional, social, and cognitive development of children via everyday play-based learning and compelling content. The companies aim to provide further assistance to individuals who have been diagnosed with AD/HD, anxiety, or autism.
The Growth in Automation Will Contribute to the Market Growth During the Projected Period
Surging automation across several industries is the primary factor driving market expansion. According to the World Robotics Report 2020 published by The International Federation of Robotics (IFR), there are about 2.7 Million Robots employed in factories around the globe which is an increase of 12%. New robot sales continue to be strong, with 373,000 units shipped globally in 2019. This is 12% less than in 2018, yet it is still the third biggest sales volume ever recorded.
Asia Will Continue to Be the Prominent Market Region for Industrial Robots
China, the region's largest adopter, increased its operating stock by 21% in 2019, reaching around 783,000 units. Japan comes in second with around 355,000 units — a 12% increase. India is the runner-up, with a new record of over 26,300 units — up by 15%. In just five years, India has more than quadrupled the number of industrial robots in use in the country's industries.
Asia accounted for almost two-thirds of the global supply of newly deployed robots. In China, sales of over 140,500 new robots fell short of the record years of 2018 and 2017 but were still more than double the amount sold five years earlier (2014: 57,000 units). Installations in the main Asian markets have slowed — particularly in China (-9% ) and Japan (-10 % ).
The increasing complexity of the world, as well as the increased adoption of automation, will boost demand for social robots. Social robots help consumers in malls and retail complexes, improve their shopping experience. Robots aid in the seamless operation of parking lots. Social robots are being used in the healthcare industry to improve patient care. In addition, robots help with domestic chores and give company to their owners. However, increasing automation reduces job possibilities and has generated numerous concerns, impeding industry expansion.
Furthermore, while social robots use cutting-edge technology, they are not people and lack empathy, emotion, and cognitive abilities. They can handle the routine tasks for which they were programmed for, but they may react unexpectedly to situations for which they were not prepared.
Robots, like any other technology, are prone to hardware faults and breakdowns, which may be costly to fix and maintain. Furthermore, people who become overly reliant on social robots for emotional companionship, risk missing out on the person-to-person relationships that are at the heart of the human condition.
The Coronavirus Epidemic Boosted Market Potential for the Social Robot Market
COVID-19 has a major influence on 2020 globally, but it has also provided an opportunity for production to modernize and digitalize on the path to recovery. To deal with the spread of the virus, healthcare sectors deployed additional robots to assist and decrease the danger of viral transmission to healthcare personnel. Demand for Social Assistive Robots (SAR) increased in the retail sector as well. The government imposed quarantine and distance adhering confinement measures, thus delivery from social robots grew dramatically. To slow the spread of the virus, Merck Group created Pre-screening Experience Through Robotic Assessment (PETRA) social robots through innovation in the robotics sector. PETRA is capable of detecting common yet undiagnosed conditions.